I can’t take it any­more

Jamaica Gleaner - - WELL - Trevor E.S. Smith CON­TRIB­U­TOR

SOME­TIMES IN life, we get to the point where we feel as if we are at the end of our rope. If we get to that stage, what can we do?

Take ac­tion

It is use­ful to start by ac­cept­ing the fact that there is a prob­lem and that in­ac­tion is not go­ing to bring about a res­o­lu­tion.

There is a ten­dency for in­di­vid­u­als to con­tinue from one frus­trat­ing en­counter to an­other. Some­times while the con­flict is not openly dis­played, the par­ties ex­pe­ri­ence a level of dis­com­fort and frus­tra­tion in the ex­changes.

Left unat­tended, these re­la­tion­ships be­come psy­cho­log­i­cally toxic and adds stress. The con­flict spills over to in­fect oth­ers, who be­come out­lets for the par­ties. Do not con­tinue un­der this cloud. It im­pacts morale and sucks the en­ergy out of the group.


A crit­i­cal is­sue must be the need to re­flect on the im­por­tance of the re­la­tion­ship. Is there some com­pelling rea­son why you should in­vest in nor­mal­is­ing this re­la­tion­ship?

If there are no ben­e­fits, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, re­quire­ments or per­ma­nent ties, then there may be lit­tle mo­ti­va­tion to work on im­prov­ing the re­la­tion­ship. How­ever, if there are im­por­tant rea­sons for the link­age, then it re­ally makes sense to fo­cus on what the con­nec­tion means.

If the ties are fa­mil­ial, would achiev­ing peace and har­mony in what should be your place of refuge not be worth the ef­fort? I feel dis­tressed at the plight of cou­ples who con­tinue to live in a cold war year af­ter year.

I am also con­cerned about the slew of em­ploy­ees who wake up each day to face an­other se­ries of un­pleas­ant in­ter­ac­tions with their su­per­vi­sors. Of­ten, en­tire teams are trapped in a re­cur­ring cy­cle of de­bil­i­tat­ing en­coun­ters.

Dig deeper

Im­prove­ments in re­la­tion­ships are best achieved by push­ing to iden­tify the root causes of the prob­lem.

The chal­lenge is that if the sit­u­a­tion has been al­lowed to de­te­ri­o­rate over time, vir­tu­ally ev­ery en­counter pro­duces some level of dis­con­tent. You en­ter the dia­logue ex­pect­ing prob­lems, and that mood pre­vails.

May I in­vite you to step back and re­call the last un­pleas­ant en­counter? Do your best to put aside the per­son­al­i­ties. Solely on the ba­sis of the con­tent, what did you find up­set­ting?

On in­tro­spec­tion, with­out the his­tory, was that re­ally all that dis­turb­ing?

If it was, then the next step is to iden­tify what about it was so up­set­ting.

Re­la­tion­ships are two-way streets. Both par­ties con­trib­ute to the un­healthy state of af­fairs. Progress can only come from in­tro­spec­tion and ad­just­ment on both sides.


A ma­jor fac­tor in the break­down of re­la­tion­ships is the bat­tle of wills. On­go­ing con­flict arises from the fact that one party is peeved at be­ing pushed to ac­cept a course of ac­tion. Al­ter­na­tively, there is frus­tra­tion with the fail­ure of the other party to com­ply.

Bat­tles of will are chal­leng­ing to re­solve with­out an ap­peal to a greater good – a big­ger pic­ture. The par­ties need to be mo­ti­vated to buy into a way for­ward that might not fully em­brace how they would like to op­er­ate.

Mi­cro­manag­ing su­per­vi­sors and nag­ging spouses are pri­mary tar­gets for a fun­da­men­tal re­view of their ap­proach. They need to have hon­est in­tro­spec­tion and reach out for res­o­lu­tion.

The bomb­shell

Mi­cro­man­agers, nag­gers and dom­i­nant per­son­al­i­ties do not eas­ily re­lin­quish their roles. If you are on the re­ceiv­ing end and the link­age is im­por­tant, you might be faced with mak­ing a uni­lat­eral ad­just­ment. You might be best served by adopt­ing a mind­set that ac­com­mo­dates the sit­u­a­tion. That means ac­cept­ing the re­al­ity and de­cid­ing not to al­low your­self to be frus­trated by the in­ter­ac­tion. This is your thorn in the flesh and you learn to live with it in the con­text of the link­age.

You will be sur­prised at how much you can ef­fec­tively tol­er­ate once you de­cide to work with the sit­u­a­tion.

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